Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

life lives in dying

i can't hear your truth. i can only hear mine.

and all it says is i'm not worth your care or your thoughts or your time or your way that's real and authentic and more refreshing than rain that falls when there's sun. all i hear is not good enough, too late, should have, would have if you did. and i hear this often and i hear this loud.

i wish you'd just speak louder, but look at me. now i'm blaming you the way my voices do. i hear your mumblings but they are nothings to the screamings, the poundings, the hazings, the silencing stares of me looking back at me. i want to sit in your quiet presence and feel your way. your truth. your life.

to feel my belovedness.

but i don't know how. i want it. i desire it. i lust for it. or do i? perhaps i prefer my self-contained state. perhaps i'd prefer to think that this all stops at me. the world is flat. there's nothing else to see. somedays it's this way, i'll admit.

but i know that my longing has not been short. i know that life lives in dying. i know that forgetting self is how one finds. i know these things in my head. now it's time they go to the heart.

Friday, February 03, 2006

let's forget the former things

After feeling so cynical about this earth, I'd like to share God's (and my) vision for a new one.

ISAIAH 65:

17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 "Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach [a] a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

disgruntlings

I read an article today about Bono's address at the National Prayer Breakfast where he said God "would not accept" our unfair trade restrictions and our withholding lifesaving medicines from people in Africa. Bush's comments: “The thing about this good citizen of the world is he’s used his position to get things done,” Bush said. “You’re an amazing guy, Bono. God bless you.”

That's it? Um, excuse me... but You're the most powerful man on earth. Perhaps You could use Your position to get things done. You know, like putting Yourself out there for others? And I'm not talking Your oil buddies. But care about others. Just a little. Bit.

I'm feeling cynical (where's my vodka) and somehow feel like capitalizing Bush's pronouns as one would Jesus'.

I missed the State of the Union the other night as I was drinking and playing lively rounds of dominoes at a bar down the street. So I decided tonight would be a good time to get reacquainted with my sorry little president (not that I want to claim him) and our egotistical nation. Basically, what happens now, is, I give you a quote, then make a scarcastic, off the cuff comment generally in the form of a question. Let's play!

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We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy -- or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity.

How could we get shut out? We're the ones who write the rules.

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Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer.

Not when you're stepping through a minefield.

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At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations.

And the other half live in complete poverty and squalor at the hands of the democratic nations' practices.

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No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it.

Is he still pulling this "freedom-hating" crap?

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Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear.

Really, I thought that was the weapon of our media?

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The terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth.

No, he di-unt.

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Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace. We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders -- and for the others, their day will come.

Firstly, how can he talk about peace and killing people in nearly succeeding sentences. Secondly, how can we deliver the oppressed while we're also the ones engaged in oppressing?

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Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.

And oil.

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With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor

Awww... Did someone use a big word?

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...our nation has only one option: We must keep our word...

Hold it right there. We must keep our word? Like the promise our nation made to give .7% of our GNP to worldwide development assistance? You know, that promise we made 36 long years ago? Yet we're still only giving .15% to poor countries. That's a huge pile of shit, folks. Our word is a huge pile of elephant shit.

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And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

Who's your daddy?

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We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, and organized crime, and human trafficking, and the drug trade.

I think that our compassion and dignity for human life should be so great that we shouldn't have to add an "also" about terrorism.

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We will build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world.

I only got a C in economics (my worst grade ever - yes I'm a nerd), but I recall learning about the idea of there being only a constant amount of wealth and power in the world, and for one person, entity, or country to get more, it is always at the expense of another. To talk of our prosperity and increasing wealth does not correspond in my mind with the compassion Bush claims we'll show abroad.

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In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of...

The rich. Okay, that was too easy. I could have been much more clever. But I'm tired.

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Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker.

That f*#@er did not just say that! He's an absolute two-faced hypocrite. Come and get me, CIA.

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I urge you to support the American Competitiveness Initiative, and together we will show the world what the American people can achieve.

Don't we already have the upper hand?

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A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act, and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicines in America.

Ahem. Weren't you the one to cut this funding at this SAME time last year? Let's not forget that there are also 39 million other people in the world with HIV/AIDS too. Let's not forget.

--------------------

Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

Did he just put himself in the same category as a great emancipator and liberator of human rights? Egotistical bastard.

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Well, that's my rant. I hope it makes sense on digital paper.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

woman who cannot rest

I'm restless. The antithesis of rest more. And yet, the time of day tells me I should do more resting than not. (Why do I always forget to order decaf?)

Almost exactly one year ago I was getting restless for the very reason I cannot rest tonight. The UNAIDS year-end report. It confided in me that 5 million new people were infected with HIV last year. It said that women with little or no income were most at risk, and that their own marriage and fidelity were not enough to protect them against the ravaging AIDS virus. The report mocked me, saying that wealthy countries were no longer the only places where people could have a reasonable chance of receiving ARVs - saying that 80% of people needing drugs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba had access. But over 60% of the world's 40 million AIDS cases are in Africa, where only 1 in 10 have access to drugs, at best. At best?

Hmphh...

It said that Zimbabwe's incredibly high HIV rates were slightly beginning to decline, but actions like President Mugabe displacing several hundred thousand people from their homes in the slums could likely reverse these promising trends. It told me that in KwaZulu-Natal, 40% of women aged 20-24 are infected with HIV. Forty percent.

I am 24.

I am a woman.

I am an American citizen (white, at that).

I am a 24 year old, white, American woman who cannot rest.

Not until something changes. Not until life is valued. Not until people are no longer judged by the color of their skin. Not until the world cares. Not until I make people care.

How will I do this? Well... I'm open to suggestions. But one thing is certain: I can't just wait for Dave to become president.

Monday, January 30, 2006

one of the broken, one of the beloved

photo by me, Malawi

Sunday, January 29, 2006

becoming the beloved

From Henri Nouwen's The Life of the Beloved:

Taken. Blessed. Broken. Given.
....these four words have become the most important words of my life. Only gradually has their meaning become known to me, and I feel that I won't ever know their full profundity. They are the most personal as well as the most universal words. They express the most spiritual as well as the most secular truth. They speak about the most divine as well as the most human behavior. They reach high as well as low, embrace God as well as people. They succinctly express the complexity of life and embrace its ever-unfolding mystery. They are the keys to understanding the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but also our own lives. I have chosen them not only because they are so deeply engraved in my being, but also because, through them, I have come into touch with the ways of becoming the Beloved of God.

***

Everything changes radically from the moment you know yourself as being sent into this world. Times and spaces, people and events, art and literature, history and science, they all cease to be opaque and become transparent, pointing far beyond themselves to the place from where you came and to where you will return. It is very hard for me to explain to you this radical change because it is a change that cannot be described in ordinary terms; nor can it be taught or practiced as a new discipline of self-knowledge. The change of which I speak is the change from living life as a painful test to prove that you deserve to be loved, to living it as an unceasing "Yes" to the truth of that Belovedness. Put simply, life is a God-given opportunity to become who we are, to affirm our own true spiritual nature, claim our truth, appropriate or integrate the reality of our being, but, most of all, to say "Yes" to the One who calls us the Beloved.

in need of rest

in presence of emptiness and knowledge of nothingness, i trudge towards the end which only begins that which i wish were not beginning. the rains rush to seek soulmates amid white strands as i wait for a speck to play knick-knack on my nose. my old man went rolling home, to a place where savages are civil and crooked white streaks split the sky and show people for what they are.

africa. my soul will ever be restless until it rests in thee.